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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 February, 2004, 14:38 GMT
Morocco quake search called off
Angry protesters
The protesters said they were being ignored by the government
International rescue workers have called off their search for survivors from Morocco's earthquake, saying that there is no-one still missing.

Meanwhile local people, angry at the slow delivery of aid, have marched through the streets in protest.

Foreign aid co-ordinators have also criticised the government over the distribution of relief supplies.

The Moroccan authorities say 571 people died and more than 400 were injured in the quake.

European rescuers said that now that the search had been abandoned they would start distributing tents and food to people who have spent the past two nights sleeping in the open air.

Appeal

"The rescue phase is over," said Henri Benedetti, a French colonel based on European rescue headquarters.

"We know which people are safe and sound, who is dead and who is injured. There are no more missing people," he added.

The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has launched an appeal for $2.3m to pay for tents, blankets, mattresses, heaters and food.


But hundreds of angry Moroccans took to the streets of Imzouren, a town badly hit in Tuesday's quake, saying there was little assistance forthcoming from their own government.

"Look around you and see the aid coming in - from France, from Spain, America, so many countries," yelled a man who gave his name only as Hakkouri, gesticulating wildly.

"But where is our government? What is Morocco doing to help itself?"

The area has continued to experience aftershocks, including two on Wednesday.

A soldier helping to organise the relief effort expressed frustration at the rescue operation.

"The officials know this is region is on a fault line but there were no resources here, not an ambulance, nothing," he told the AFP agency.

Officials said King Mohammed VI will now go ahead with a visit to the stricken region on Friday, after postponing an earlier trip, apparently due to strong aftershocks.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Pascale Harter
"Despite the darkness and the rain, the search for bodies will go on"



SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Morocco earthquake
24 Feb 04  |  Photo Gallery
Quake survivors speak of panic
24 Feb 04  |  Africa
Deadly history of earthquakes
08 Jan 04  |  In Depth
Country profile: Morocco
11 Sep 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Morocco
09 Nov 02  |  Country profiles


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